NACE competency: Professionalism/work ethic — Jessica’s Career Tip of the Week

Career readiness is such an important concept in the field of career development, and by applying the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) seven core competencies, you will grow as a future professional, and increase your career readiness levels. Last week, I illustrated the concept of leadership. At the present time, I am going to illustrate an integral competency that engineers will want to acquire – Professionalism/Work Ethic. Next, I will define, highlight, and provide examples of this competency.

 According to NACE (2020), professionalism/work ethic is the ability to “Demonstrate personal accountability and effective work habits, e.g., punctuality, working productively with others, and time workload management, and understand the impact of non-verbal communication on professional work image. The individual demonstrates integrity and ethical behavior, acts responsibly with the interests of the larger community in mind, and is able to learn from his/her mistakes.”

Professionalism is about how you speak and your professional work image. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have observed individuals in the workplace that lacked professionalism skills. My advice to you is to observe great people who have excellent professionalism skills as well as a good work ethic. Professionalism/work ethic is about the way you speak, the way you communicate in emails, time management, and the way that you dress.

First impressions do count! An example that I will give is to make sure you can locate the company worksite before your interview. You wouldn’t want to go to the worksite and then find yourself running around the whole building because you didn’t take the time to locate your worksite beforehand. Imagine how your work image would be negatively impacted after that; especially if your future coworkers in the organization were to observe that. Another important thing that you can do is ask your coworkers if you can assist and collaborate with them on projects. This can be impressive to your boss in the workplace. One of my peer career coaches mentioned that this is how she received an offer right before she completed her internship.

You will want to immerse yourself into the work culture by always applying professionalism/work ethic into the workplace. Be helpful to your team, communicate in a positive way, and be accountable to your projects that you are working on for the organization. Also, act ethically and build trust with your team. As a supervisor, it is those who demonstrate having top-notch professionalism skills and a good work ethic that always get noticed.

Reference Cited: 

National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). (2020). Retrieved from


**Peer Career Coaches Richard Rigby and Lauren Monroe assisted with providing examples for the blog.